CARSON CITY, Nev. — Two retired administrators want the Nevada Legislature to separate community colleges from what they call a university-centric funding system.
Community colleges will get about $21 million out of $115 million in education funding increases over the next two years under Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget, the Nevada Appeal reported.
Retired community college presidents John Gwaltney and Carol Lucey are pushing for a bill that would separate the systems at no cost to the state.
“The divorce is more important than the settlement,” said Lucey.
They say the Nevada System of Higher Education and the Board of Regents emphasize universities over community colleges.
“They’ll never fund them adequately,” Lucey said. “Everything is headed toward the universities.”
Lucey pointed to the $83 million engineering college building planned for University of Nevada, Reno as an example.
Gwaltney said every engineer is backed up by several skilled technicians.
He said Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College can train 3,500 people over five years.
“We’re talking Tesla will need 6,000-plus people,” he said.
Lucey said companies like Tesla may need to look for employees outside of the state if community colleges don’t have enough funding to train people fast enough.
“We are not going to build the capacity to do what Tesla needs,” she said.
Lucey said lower enrollment has followed decreases in funding over the last few years.
“If you really want community colleges to function for workforce development,” Lucey said, “you need to solve the long-term problems.”